It’s fairly easy to conjure up a list of people between which it is unlikely that love will unfold. For instance, a romance between an animal lover and someone who works for a company that tests drugs on animals seems a bit improbable. A relationship between Omar al-Bashir, the infamous president of Sudan, and a female member of the ICC (International Criminal Court) might be slightly difficult to arrange. A union between a twenty year old woman and an eighty year old man could possibly seem, well, impossible; however, despite the ridiculous nature of the three former scenarios, it is seen that affinities can be created in the most unlikely of situations; after all, Mr. Heffner is living proof.
Wuthering Heights is a tale in which two characters such as Catherine and Hareton are never supposed to fall in love. The story revolves around the lives of three childhood friends, Catherine (the first), her brother Hindley, and Heathcliff. Despite their love for one another, Catherine (the first) and Heathcliff go their separate ways and marry others in order to accomplish their own ends. Hindley and Heathcliff nurse their hatred for the other until the day each finally dies. Through a twist of fate and contrary to a number of rather unfortunate circumstances, the daughter of Catherine (the first) and the son of Hindley meet and fall in love. Wuthering Heights is a perfect illustration of love burgeoning between two people despite seemingly insurmountable circumstances as shown through Catherine and Hareton’s ability to overcome their family’s quarrelsome history, their own misunderstandings about the other’s character, and finally, the interventions of others to prevent their love.
As the story of Romeo and Juliet most famously demonstrates, animosity between families can be difficult, even impossible, for lovers to overcome, but Catherine and Hareton miraculously do just this. When Hareton’s father, Hindley, was a boy he was jealous of the attention his father paid to Heathcliff and his jealousy drove a wedge between the two boys. However, it was Catherine’s (the first) marriage to Edgar Linton, despite her love for Heathcliff, that fueled Heathcliff’s anger. Despite a history of tension amongst the family, Catherine and Hareton are still able to make their relationship work. Where Catherine (the first) and Heathcliff were each too selfish to compromise and be together, Catherine and Hareton are willing to love the other despite difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, the two must not only overcome tensions between their families, but even tensions between themselves.
Catherine and Hareton do not fall in love at first sight, but rather the two dislike one another for a quite a time. Upon meeting her cousin, Hareton, Catherine immediately expresses disdain towards him. She joins in when Linton mocks Hareton for his inability to read and naively assumes him to be stupid. However, as time trickles on, Catherine begins to look at Hareton through a different set of eyes. Eventually the two become friends and Catherine teaches him how to read. The two allow their misunderstood first impressions of the other to fade away and they fall in love in spite of attempts to intervene by others.
Heathcliff attempts to prevent any sort of affinity from springing up between Catherine and Hareton. At first, he harasses Hareton in front of Catherine in order to encourage her to believe that Hareton is, indeed, a fool. As the story unfolds, Heathcliff forces Catherine to marry his son Linton and locks her away at Wuthering Heights. However, it is his poor treatment of both Catherine and Hareton that helps the two to bond together. They overcome Heathcliff’s attempts to cultivate hatred between them. In the end, Heathcliff appears to give up when he tells Nelly, “My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives- I could do it, and none could hinder me. But where is the use?” Catherine and Hareton’s love survives and overcomes the spiteful actions of Heathcliff.
It might be argued that Wuthering Heights is not an appropriate example of love revealing itself through impossible circumstances. That, perhaps, the story actually pivots around the obsession that makes up the love between Catherine (the first) and Heathcliff, and their love dies. However, the fact that the majority of the storyline is consumed by Catherine (the first) and Heathcliff opposed to Catherine and Hareton does not make the romance between the former two the actual focal point of the story. The irony of it all is that, despite all the hatred and hardships that should keep them apart, the love of two people can endure.
Catherine and Hareton illustrate that, regardless as to one’s family history, one’s first impression of another person, and the interventions of others, love can, in fact, occur. A list of people unlikely to fall in love is easy to create, and while it may still look hopeless for men like Bashir; the Hugh’s and Hareton’s of this world can and will endure.